Theft of records or media most common form of breach

Stealing paper records or electronic media was the most common type of data breach in healthcare in 2010, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) "Annual Report to Congress on Breaches of Unsecured Protected Health Information." Losing the records or media was the second most common incident.

Among the 207 breaches that affected 500 or more individuals:

• 99 incidents involved theft of paper records or electronic media, together affecting 2,979,121 individuals.

• Loss of electronic media or paper records affected 1,156,847 individuals.

• Unauthorized access to, or uses or disclosures of, protected health information affected 1,006,393 individuals.

• Human or technological errors, or other failures to take adequate care of protected health information, affected 78,663 individuals.

• Improper disposal of paper affected 70,279 individuals.

The full report can be found at